Monday, October 21, 2019

Van's RV-8, N249BW: Fatal accident occurred October 20, 2019 in White Plains, Calhoun County, Alabama

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: White Plains, AL
Accident Number: CEN20FA009
Date & Time: 10/20/2019, 1130 CDT
Registration: N249BW
Aircraft: Vans VANS RV-8
Injuries:1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On October 20, 2019, about 1130 central daylight time, an experimental Vans RV-8 airplane, N249BW, impacted remote mountainous terrain near White Plains, Alabama. The airline transport pilot and sole occupant sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a VFR flight plan was filed. The flight departed from the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL), Muscle Shoals, Alabama, about 1000.

According to the pilot's family members, the purpose of the flight was for the pilot to fly from MSL to the Big T Airport (64GA), Senoia, Georgia, after the completion of a family visit. The family reported that the pilot intended to fly direct to 64GA with no stops. After not hearing from the pilot by mid-afternoon, concerned family members contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. A search was initiated for the missing airplane and the wreckage was located about 2230 by first responders on private property near the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge on a north to south oriented mountain ridge.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge and two aviation safety inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site on October 22, 2019. The investigative team members documented the accident site and the wreckage. The airplane came to rest on a heading of 123°, at an elevation of about 1,700 ft above mean sea level, and on about a 50° incline in a heavily wooded area, as shown below in figure 1.

Figure 1 – View of the wreckage looking to the northwest, downslope.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site and transported to a secure location for a future examination of the airframe and engine. The two-seat capacity airplane, serial number 82872, was built from a kit by the pilot in 2010. The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming Engines IO-360-A1B6 engine.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans
Registration: N249BW
Model/Series: VANS RV-8 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KANB, 600 ft msl
Observation Time: 1602 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: White Plains, AL
Destination: Senoia, GA (64GA) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.749722, -85.723333 (est)

Harvell Jackson Walker

CALHOUN Co., Ala. (WBRC) - A pilot who was killed in a small plane crash in Calhoun County has been identified.

Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown identified the man as Harvell Jackson Walker, 70, of Fayetteville, Georgia. A Facebook profile that appears to be his shows a profile photo of the man in a pilot's uniform, sitting in what appears to be the cockpit of a commercial jetliner.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade says his office received a call from an Air Force base in Panama City, Florida, at 7 p.m. Sunday, when their search and rescue team reported losing a plane on radar, and saying its flight plan indicated the plane was past due to return.

A preliminary search of the coordinates, where the plane was last spotted on radar, showed the area somewhere in White Plains. An initial search turned up nothing.

Wade says the Air Force contacted him later with more exact coordinates. Also a family member had notified them the “Find My iPhone” feature on Walker’s iPhone indicated a similar area. Wade said a second search revealed the plane, and Walker’s body.

Wade said the wreckage turned up on Bains Gap Mountain, on heavily wooded privately owned land. He says he was told the plane was an RV8.

"I looked it up, it's a sporty-looking plane," Wade said.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene Monday, looking through the wreckage for anything that might lead them to determine a cause of the crash.

Walker was the only person on the plane.

Original article can be found here ➤

UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as 70-year-old Harvell Walker Jr. from Fayetteville, Georgia.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade says his department got a call from the United States Air Force Sunday night about a plane that had not checked in.

Wade said coordinates showed the plane was near Bains Gap Road in Anniston.

Walker's daughter called the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office and shared information she had from the Find My iPhone app.

Deputies were able to locate the crash site and found Walker deceased.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to be at the crash site Monday morning to investigate the crash.

Wade says those organizations will be handling the investigation.

One person was killed Sunday night in a small plane crash in Calhoun County.

According to our news partner, The Anniston Star, the Sheriff's Office found the pilot dead inside the plane in a wooded area off Bains Gap Road.

That person has not been identified.

The Sheriff says the airport lost contact with the plane around 7:00 Sunday night.

It was a private, single-engine plane. The Sheriff believes the pilot was going from Muscle Shoals to Peachtree City, Georgia.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. By the picture he appears to be a FedEx pilot, obviously retired due to age. Most FedEx airplanes end with FE but some airbus’s FD and their aircraft logs are orange.......

  2. Airbus 300 skipper...RIP Cappy, safe flight west

  3. Find my phone feature very effective. Having access to pilots cell phone number a must.

  4. Any thoughts on the apparent delay in local authorities being contacted?
    On Sunday, October 20, 2019, flight departed about 1000.
    NTSB records accident about 1130 AM central daylight time.
    Sheriff contacted by an "Air Force base in Panama City, Florida, at 7 p.m. Sunday, when their search and rescue team reported losing a plane on radar, and saying its flight plan indicated the plane was past due to return."
    Wreckage was located about 2230.
    Story notes the AF in FL 'losing a plane on radar and flight plan past due.'
    No flightaware log.